Daily Archives: August 7, 2012

Views from the Solar System (56)


Curiosity Spotted on Parachute by Orbiter
NASA – NASA’s Curiosity rover and its parachute were spotted by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image of Curiosity while the orbiter was listening to transmissions from the rover. Curiosity and its parachute are in the center of the white box; the inset image is a cutout of the rover stretched to avoid saturation. The rover is descending toward the etched plains just north of the sand dunes that fringe “Mt. Sharp.” From the perspective of the orbiter, the parachute and Curiosity are flying at an angle relative to the surface, so the landing site does not appear directly below the rover.

The parachute appears fully inflated and performing perfectly. Details in the parachute, such as the band gap at the edges and the central hole, are clearly seen. The cords connecting the parachute to the back shell cannot be seen, although they were seen in the image of NASA’s Phoenix lander descending, perhaps due to the difference in lighting angles. The bright spot on the back shell containing Curiosity might be a specular reflection off of a shiny area. Curiosity was released from the back shell sometime after this image was acquired.

This view is one product from an observation made by HiRISE targeted to the expected location of Curiosity about one minute prior to landing. It was captured in HiRISE CCD RED1, near the eastern edge of the swath width (there is a RED0 at the very edge). This means that the rover was a bit further east or downrange than predicted.

The image scale is 13.2 inches (33.6 centimeters) per pixel .

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter’s HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona more> http://tinyurl.com/counfkl

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Stop Victimizing the World’s Taxpayers, Move the Olympic Games to Greece


By Nicos E. Devletoglou – After a huge £20 billion of taxpayer money had already been practically exhausted staging the Games.  In the midst as well of a deepening recession with the British economy expected to “grow” this year by a mere 0.2 per cent.  In all, a vastly greater (and thus also morally dubious) level of expenditure than the original estimate that had helped secure the Olympics from serious competitors such as the cities of New YorkParis and Madrid.

The necessary and sufficient conditions here are easy to guess. First, a great sporting festival must also be capable of making a net social contribution to the world at large. And, second, it must naturally be held at the same location permanently; thereby maximizing its global efficiency creating a much lower financial burden with minimum disruptions to free movement and a maximum security package at a much more reasonable cost resulting from internal increasing returns on scale. more> http://tinyurl.com/8hnysco

Tim Geithner’s principal hypocrisy


By Neil Barofsky – In 2009, $50 billion in TARP funds had been committed to help homeowners through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a program that the president announced was intended to help up to 4 million struggling families stay in their homes through sustainable mortgage modifications. Hundreds of billions more were still available and could have been used by the White House and the Treasury Department to help support a massive reduction in mortgage debt. But Geithner avoided this path to a housing recovery (pdf), explaining that he believed it would be “dramatically more expensive for the American taxpayer, harder to justify, [and] create much greater risk of unfairness.” That program incongruously left it to the largely bank-owned mortgage servicers (and to Fannie and Freddie) to determine if such relief would be implemented.

Treasury reinforced Geithner’s early statements, refusing to do so primarily because of fears of a lurking danger: the ”moral hazard of strategic default.” (pdf) The message was clear: No way, no how would Treasury require principal reduction, even when Treasury’s analysis indicated it would be in the best interest of the owner, investor or guarantor of the mortgage. more> http://tinyurl.com/9qtnvo3

Fuel cell keeps going after hydrogen runs out


By Caroline Perry – Materials scientists at Harvard have demonstrated an equivalent feat in clean energy generation with a solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that converts hydrogen into electricity but can also store electrochemical energy like a battery. This fuel cell can continue to produce power for a short time after its fuel has run out.

“This thin-film SOFC takes advantage of recent advances in low-temperature operation to incorporate a new and more versatile material,” explains principal investigator Shriram Ramanathan, associate professor of materials science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “Vanadium oxide (VOx) at the anode behaves as a multifunctional material, allowing the fuel cell to both generate and store energy.” more> http://tinyurl.com/9dx6mkb

US will fight ITU members for internet domination


Plaque on the ICANN (Internet Corporation for ...

Plaque on the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) head office, Del Rey, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brid-Aine Parnell – The US has made it clear that it won’t be letting control of the internet slip out of ICANN‘s hands anytime soon.

The US Department of State released the country’s proposals for the World Conference on International Telecommunications on its website, where the threat of attempts by Russia and others to wrest the web from the US body was obliquely answered. Slipped in among its recommendations was that the “voluntary nature of compliance with ITU-T Recommendations [be maintained].” more> http://tinyurl.com/dyqqehg

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CONGRESS WATCH Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for Cellular Telephones, FCC Using Cell Phones Safely, SF Environment HOUSE COMMITTEE: Cell Phone Use and Tumors: What the Science Says – September 25, 2008, Subcommittee on Domestic Policy/US Congress IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic … Continue reading